Brisbane, Australia, 23 June 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Remember the name, Emerson Jones.

The Gold Coast talent is currently the highest-ranked 2008-born female player in the ITF World Tour junior rankings and one of only two 14-year-olds with a WTA Tour singles ranking.

She is Australia’s top-ranked junior as well, sitting at a career-high world No.18.

Jones’ parents were both exceptional athletes. Her father, Brad Jones, won the prestigious Grogan Medal, the top individual accolade in the Queensland Australian Football League, in 1999, while her mother, Loretta Harrop, was a triathlete and won an Olympic silver medal at Athens 2004.

Her older brother, Hayden, is also excelling in tennis and is Australia’s No.2-ranked junior boy.

In our series profiling Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy athletes, Jones shares her tennis story and future goals …

How did you start playing tennis?

My brother used to play cricket with my dad at tennis courts near where he lived. One of the coaches invited him to join in tennis lessons. I was four years old at the time and went on the court with him. I was running around and started doing some of the lessons too. I didn’t like it at first, but then I started to enjoy it.

Why didn’t you initially enjoy tennis?

I wanted to do gymnastics instead. But once I started competing and playing in little tournaments, then I started to really enjoy it.

What do you love most about tennis now?

I love competing and travelling. I’ve had lots of great experiences.

What has been the highlight of your tennis journey so far?

I really enjoyed playing Australian Open juniors this year, which was my first Grand Slam.

Can you talk about the emotions you felt competing at your first Grand Slam tournament?

I was really nervous at the start, but then I just focused on my match and it was great.

Emerson Jones in action at Australian Open 2023. Picture: Tennis Australia

Emerson Jones in action at Australian Open 2023. Picture: Tennis Australia

What was the biggest lesson you learnt from the Australian Open this year?

It was pretty cool to see the level of the top juniors in the world.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing tennis?

I like to go for a run or a swim. I enjoy keeping active. I really enjoy doing arts too. I like painting.

If you weren’t pursuing a professional tennis career, what other career options would you consider?

Maybe swimming or running. I think my mum would really like that as well.

Have you ever been tempted to follow in your mum’s footsteps and compete in triathlons?

No, I haven’t. It just doesn’t really float my boat. I think tennis is the way to go for me.

Have you played any other sports?

I’ve played AFL and soccer at school, which was cool.

How do you find juggling school commitments with your training and competing?

It’s pretty good, because the National Tennis Academy helps you fit it all in. After I hit, I go up to the classroom and do my school, then go back and hit.

Emerson Jones at the National Tennis Academy in Brisbane. Picture: Tennis Australia

Emerson Jones at the National Tennis Academy in Brisbane. Picture: Tennis Australia

You’re working with David Taylor at the National Tennis Academy. What is like having such an experienced coach?

It’s really cool because he has a lot of experience with all the big names, like Naomi Osaka and Sam Stosur. I’m learning a lot.

What are your long-term goals in tennis?

I hope I can do really well at Wimbledon one day. Grass is my favourite surface to play on, so that’d be great. I’d love to win any Grand Slam really and just do what Ash Barty has done.

Is Ash one of your tennis idols?

She is. I really liked watching her. I like Emma Raducanu’s game too.

If you could steal any stroke from another player, what would it be and why?

Ash Barty’s slice I reckon, or Emma Raducanu’s drive volley.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

I’m just really focusing on my results and hopefully doing well at the junior Grand Slams.

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